Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

17 Aug

After a day at the beach followed by a night drinking rosé at a rooftop bar, it can be hard to wake up at 5AM for a 24 hour Sunday shift at the hospital.  Luckily, freshly baked blueberry muffins make everything (a little) better.  These muffins are adapted from Joanne Chang’s Flour bakery cookbook but I added a streusel topping for an extra special morning treat (and because everyone needs a little extra butter and sugar in the morning!).  The flavor of these muffins is also enhanced by the addition of lemon zest and cinnamon- subtle, yet an excellent complement to the sweet and tart blueberries.  These were definitely a bright spot in a hectic morning and it was only a matter of hours before they were polished off!

Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

(adapted from Joanne Chang’s Blueberry Muffins)
(makes 18 muffins)

For the muffins:

Vegetable oil or cooking spray for the pan
3-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. table salt
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
5 oz. (10 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1-1/2 cups fresh (washed, dried, and picked over) or frozen (no need to thaw) blueberries

For the streusel topping:
3/8 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
pinch of salt
1/2 stick (or 4 tbs) cold un-salted butter, diced

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil (or spray with cooking spray) the top of a standard 12-cup muffin tin and then line with paper or foil baking cups. (Spraying the pan keeps the muffin tops from sticking to the pan’s surface.)

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; mix well. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, butter, milk, crème fraîche or sour cream, eggs, egg yolk, and zest until well combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold gently with a rubber spatula just until the dry ingredients are mostly moistened; the batter will be lumpy, and there should still be quite a few streaks of dry flour. Sprinkle the blueberries on the batter and fold them in until just combined. (The batter will still be lumpy; don’t try to smooth it out or you’ll overmix.)

If you have an ice cream scoop with a “sweeper” in it, use it to fill the muffin cups. Otherwise, use two spoons to spoon the batter in, distributing all of the batter evenly. The muffin cups should be filled to the top.

Combine all streusel ingredients in either a food processor or small bowl.  If using a food processor, pulse until ingredients come together in pea sized pieces and mixture is crumbly.  If you don’t have a food processor, just mix ingredients together using pastry cutter, 2 forks or fingers until you achieve that crumbly texture.

Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the tops of each muffin.

Bake until the muffins are golden brown and spring back lightly when you press the middle, 30 to 35 minutes. (The muffin tops will probably meld together.) Let the muffin tin cool on a rack for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a table knife to separate the tops, and then remove from the pan.

Cooking Lessons: Seared Ahi Tuna Salad

8 Aug

I am often approached by friends asking for cooking or baking lessons.  While this sounds like a good idea in theory, I must admit, I’m a little “Type A” in the kitchen which can make relinquishing control to a new “student” a little difficult (especially if I plan on taking beautiful pictures for a future blog post!).  However, I decided to give it a shot for once.  My friend requested learning how to make something relatively simple but “healthy”.  Now those of you who follow my blog (or who have been lucky enough to sample my culinary masterpieces) may laugh at the idea of me making anything healthy, but I promise you it is possible!  This salad was inspired by the seared tuna salad at the Hillstone with some minor variations to suit my picky friend.

Below are some of the basic techniques, definitions, and tips I taught my friend in order to compose this salad:

Chopping- When food, generally vegetables/herbs, are cut into smaller uniform pieces but not as small as if it were minced (see next)

Mincing- Cutting food, such as garlic or ginger, into the tiniest pieces possible

Julienning- This refers to cutting food, generally vegetables such as carrot or zucchini, into long match-stick like pieces.  Often used to cut vegetables for a slaw. You can do this by hand (which is tedious), use a special mandolin grater, or buy a special julienning vegetable peeler.

Searing-This is when food, such as meat or fish (aka tuna) is cooked over really high heat to get a nice sear or caramelization on the outside of the meat.  

Vinaigrette- Generally this refers to a salad dressing but it can also be used as a marinade.  It is typically composed of 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar or acid.  I generally use citrus juice or other vinegars (balsamic, sherry, champagne) for my acid and olive oil for my oil.  In the following Asian inspired vinaigrette I also introduced soy sauce and rice wine vinegar for some acidity and sesame oil.  It is also great to balance out the flavor with some sweetness from honey.  You can use sugar too but the honey also acts as an emulsifier to bring your vinaigrette together (dijon mustard also works as an emulsifier).  Finally, you can add herbs and other flavors such as garlic, shallots, basil, cilantro etc.  Finish with salt and pepper to taste and test the final product by trying on a piece of lettuce dipped into the vinaigrette.

The below vinaigrette would be great on salmon, chicken or shrimp.  You can also add different vegetables (red pepper, snap peas) or fruit (mango, mandarin wedges) to the salad as you please.

While the lesson somewhat deteriorated into more of a demonstration while my friend watched and drank wine, overall I’d call it a success!

Seared Ahi Tuna Salad

(serves 4)

Start by making the vinaigrette to the give the flavors time to marinate together.

Cilantro, Honey, Lime Vinaigrette 

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs sesame oil
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
3 Tbs honey
1 Tbs freshly minced ginger
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk the first 5 ingredients (lime juice through honey) in a medium bowl.  Mix in the ginger and cilantro.  Slowly whisk in olive oil until thoroughly emulsified.  Taste to see if you need salt- because of the soy sauce you may find you don’t need it.  Allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  You will likely need to re-whisk before serving.


8 oz of mixed baby lettuces (you can use anything you wish here although I’d recommend using against something with lots of flavor such as arugula, I used a mix of frisee and red lettuce but a pre-washed container of mixed lettuce or spinach would work just fine)
2 avocados, halved and sliced
2 tomatoes, cut into about 8 wedges each (can also use halved cherry tomatoes)
chopped cashews or nut of your choosing to top the salad

Toss the lettuce with about 3/4 of the vinaigrette.  Reserve the remaining to drizzle on the tune.  Divide the salad onto one half of 4 plates.  Top each with 1/4 of the avocado slices, tomato wedges and cashews.

Seared Ahi Tuna

4 5 oz fresh tuna steaks (each about 3/4 to 1 inch thick)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
salt and pepper

Generously salt and pepper each side of the tuna.  Heat both oils in a 12 inch skillet on high heat until a drop of water sizzles.  Add the tuna steaks and cook until browned on each side about 1-2 minutes, so that it is still raw on the inside.

Let it rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes.  Slice AGAINST THE GRAIN (or else it will fall apart) and place next to the salad.  Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Bon appetit!

A Duo of Ice Creams: Blueberry Lavender Chip and Salty Caramel Peanut Chip

4 Aug

I’ve been on a bit of an ice cream making kick recently.  It started in June when I was rotating on the burn surgery service.  To minimize heat loss from critically ill burn patients, the operating room is kept heated at a balmy 100 degrees.  While this is good for the patient, after  3 (or 7) hours it starts to make the surgeon  (aka me) a bit delirious (or just outright cray cray).  Thus, I instituted Ice Cream Fridays to have something sweet and COLD to look forward to at the end of the week.

Although I am no longer on the burn service, the temperature outside the operating room has risen prompting me to continue my ice cream making (although really I need no excuse to make ice cream!).

Last month I took advantage of in-season blueberries to create Blueberry Lavender Chip Ice Cream.  This recipe is a variation on the Wildberry Lavender Ice Cream by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.  I did not have essence of lavender oil as called for in the original recipe so instead used some dried lavender flowers I had previously purchased to add a subtle lavender undertone.  I then added white and dark chocolate chips for texture and because everything is better with chocolate!  The result is a beautiful purple, creamy ice cream studded with crunchy rich white and dark chocolate chunks with a mild floral aftertaste from the lavender.

My next creation was also a spin on a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream flavor.  I started with her Salty Caramel Ice Cream (with a little extra salt added) and then added roasted peanuts and dark chocolate.  The combination of the salt, caramel, chocolate and peanuts is reminiscent of a Snicker’s bar…in a sophisticated and semi-frozen form.

If you want to have fun with ice cream this summer (or anytime) I highly recommend checking out Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream cookbook (I promise I am not sponsored by them!).  The recipes are fairly straight forward and easy to make with a wide variety of flavor combinations!

Blueberry Lavender Chip Ice Cream

(adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream)

1/2 cup wild blueberries, fresh or frozen
2/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar, divided
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 oz of cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
Pinch of dried lavender flowers
3 oz each chopped white and dark chocolate

For the blueberries:
Combine blueberries and 2 Tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan over low heat.  Bring mixture to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, set aside and cool.

Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar,  corn syrup, and dried lavender in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Gradually pour hot milk mixture through a strainer and into the cream cheese mixture, whisking as you pour until smooth.  Add blueberry sauce and stir until combined.  Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.  Just before the ice cream is done, add in the white and dark chocolate chunks and spin until thoroughly mixed.

Salty Caramel Peanut Chip Ice Cream

(adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream)

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 oz of cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 1 Tbs light corn syrup
4 oz. salted and roasted peanuts
4 oz. chopped dark chocolate


Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.



Danger! This is the dry-burn technique. I don’t add water to the sugar before putting it on the heat, as some chefs do. Caramelizing sugar dry means it goes faster, but you have to watch it more closely and be ready with your cream. Here is an overview of what you are going to do:

Stand over the pan of sugar with a heatproof spatula ready, but do not touch the sugar until there is a full layer of melted and browning liquid sugar on the bottom with a smaller layer of unmelted white sugar on the top. When the edges of the melted sugar begin to darken, use the spatula to bring them into the center to help melt the unmelted sugar. Continue stirring and pushing the sugar around until it is all melted and evenly amber in color-like an old penny. When little bubbles begin to explode with dark smoke, give the sugar another moment and then remove from the heat. Immediately but slowly pour about 14 cup of the cream and corn syrup mixture into the burning-hot sugar. Be careful! It will pop and spit! Stir until it is incorporated, then add a bit more cream and stir, then continue until it is all in.


Heat the sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until it is melted and golden amber in color (see note above). Remove from the heat and, stirring constantly, slowly add a bit of the cream and corn syrup mixture to the caramel: It will fizzle, pop, and spurt. Stir until well combined, then add a little more and stir. Keep adding the cream a little at a time until all of it is incorporated.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.

Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. If any caramel flecks remain, pour the mixture through a sieve.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.  Just before the ice cream is done, add the peanuts and chocolate chunks and spin until mixed in.

Gnocchi with peas, mushrooms, and truffle oil

15 Jul

Summer is truly here in Massachusetts and with it comes bountiful, fresh, local produce. I am lucky to have close friends who belong to a CSA/farm share and invite me to participate in their weekly “harvest” dinners utilizing this amazing summer produce! (I obviously contribute dessert) An added bonus of their CSA is that they are allowed to go out to the farm in western Massachusetts to pick seasonal fruits and vegetables. I was fortunate enough the other week to be invited along to “pick our own” peas and strawberries!

And by pick peas and strawberries I really mean that I ate at least 2 for every 1 I picked… (strawberry stained hands not pictured below)

Inspired by a recent gnocchi and pea dish at Sportello in Boston, I decided to emulate it with my freshly picked and shelled peas!  I had never made gnocchi before but decided it couldn’t be that hard…turns out it is a littler harder than I expected, especially when you don’t have the right equipment.

I have long scoffed “uni-taskers” aka kitchen gadgets that only serve one purpose, such as a panini press,and similarly was skeptical about purchasing a potato ricer.  Therefore I was excited to find a smitten kitchen recipe for gnocchi that said you could use a box grater instead to grate the potatoes.  However, after making these once, I have now invested in a potato ricer!  Hand grating potatoes for a double batch of gnocchi was quite time and energy consuming.  I actually almost threw the grated potatoes out and purchased already made gnocchi because I feared my gooey hand grated potatoes would never turn into gnocchi.  But I persevered and somehow, with the addition of eggs, a lot of flour, and a lot of elbow grease, made something that resembled and, more importantly, tasted like gnocchi!  (Note: I ended up needing a lot more flour to get dough that was workable and not too sticky)

The gnocchi only take about 2 minutes to cook in boiling water and can be made a few hours ahead of time.  Just lay the cooked gnocchi on a parchment lined baking sheet to stop the cooking process and keep at room temperature until ready to eat.  Then add to your sauce for a few minutes to reheat before serving.

The soft, fluffy gnocchi paired perfectly with a light mushroom cream sauce and the fresh, just cooked peas for a burst of color and texture.  The dish was then finished with a drizzle of truffle oil (optional but really makes the dish) and parmesan cheese.  Strawberry and peach crisp with sweet corn ice cream rounded out the meal for a perfect summer harvest dinner!


Gnocchi with peas, mushrooms, and truffle oil

(serves about 4)

For the Gnocchi (from smitten kitchen):

2 pounds (905 grams) Russet potatoes (3 to 4)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups (156 to 190 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more
10 oz of fresh mushrooms of a variety (crimini, oyster, shitake, etc.)
1/4 cup sherry, port, or medeira wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 1 pound pods) or frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid from gnocchi
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs. Chopped fresh chives
4 oz. finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
drizzle of truffle oil

For the gnocchi:

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Bake potatoes for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size, until a thin knife can easily pierce through them.

Let the potatoes cool for 10 minutes after baking, then peel them with a knife or a peeler (PSA from your friendly burn surgeon: DO NOT BURN YOURSELF). Run the potatoes through a potato ricer or grate them on the large holes of a box grater (Based on my first experience I would recommend purchasing a potato ricer). Cool them to lukewarm, about another 10 minutes. Add the egg and salt, mixing to combine. Add 1/2 cup flour, and mix to combine. Add the next 1/2 cup flour, mixing again. Add 1/4 cup flour, and see if this is enough to form a dough that does not easily stick to your hands. If not, add the last 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is soft but only a little sticky, and able to hold its shape enough to be rolled into a rope. Knead the dough together briefly, gently, on a counter, just for a minute. (You may need to add even more flour to get the right consistency as I did)

Divide the dough into quarters. Roll each piece into a long rope, about 3/4-inch thick. Cut each rope into 3/4-inch lengths. At this point, you can use a floured fork or a gnocchi board to give each piece the traditional ridges (this step is just for looks but is definitely not necessary and I skipped it). Place the gnocchi on a a parchment-lined tray.

[Do ahead: If you'd like to freeze gnocchi for later user, do so on this tray. Once they are frozen, drop them into a freezer bag until needed. No need to defrost before cooking them; it will just take a minute or two longer.]

Place the gnocchi, a quarter-batch at a time, into a pot of boiling well-salted water. Cook the gnocchi until they float — about 2 minutes — then drain but make sure to reserve at least 1/2 cup cooking liquid for the sauce.

For the sauce and final product:

Heat the 2 tbs of oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Saute mushrooms until slightly softened, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the wine and cook until reduced by half.  Add the heavy cream and stir to combine.

Add the cooked gnocchi, peas, butter, and reserved cooking liquid and stir to combine.  Cook for about 2 minutes until gnocchi is heated through.  Salt and pepper to taste and then add chives, parmesan cheese, lemon zest and truffle oil.

Serve and top with additional parmesan if desired.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

8 Jul

With the announcement today that Crumbs Bake Shop is closing all of its stores, I decided a commemorative cupcake blog post was in order.  While the cupcake craze may be on a decline, I will never tire of these mini, tasty treats.  As the saying goes “Good things come in small packages”.  Perhaps I am just partial to this given my own petite size… But really?  Cake, frosting, perhaps a surprise filling,  all in one small, portable serving…what’s not to love?

These chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes are especially delectable and were the perfect way to celebrate my last 24 hour shift in the emergency room this year.  I work with some incredible doctors, physician assistants and nurses in the emergency room and brought these in as a way to thank them for all of their hard work and for keeping me sane during my four months of every other day, 24 hour call.

A word of warning…with all the butter that goes into creating these cupcakes, one cupcake alone may be enough to actually send you to the emergency room! There are 3 components to the cupcakes and they all involve butter!  The process begins by making an egg-less cookie dough that is frozen ahead of time.  These frozen cookie dough balls are then placed into a brown-sugar based cupcake batter.  Once in the oven, the frozen cookie dough starts to bake but retains its soft, dough-like texture that is the highlight of the cupcake.  Finally, the cupcake  is topped with a brown sugar frosting and sprinkled with mini chocolate chips.  The final product is a pretty rich cupcake that has the flavor of chocolate chip cookies in every component.  While, as a doctor, I wouldn’t recommend eating one every day, they are the perfect special occasion treat!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

(recipe from, makes 24 cupcakes)

For the cookie dough:
2 sticks softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the cupcakes:
3 sticks softened butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting:
3 sticks softened butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract


To make the cookie dough, combine the butter and sugars in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 mins. Beat in milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Beat in the flour and salt until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Using a 1.5 tablespoon scoop, shape the dough into 24 balls. Freeze on a parchment lined baking sheet overnight.

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total).  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir together to blend.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Blend in the vanilla.

Using a 3 tablespoon scoop, fill the prepared cupcake liners 2/3 full with the cupcake batter. Place a frozen cookie dough ball on the top center of each cupcake.

Bake at 350 for 16-18 mins.

To make the frosting, combine the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.  Beat in the salt, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth and combined.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips!

Deconstructed Lemon Cream Pie Parfait

23 Jun

Once again, I’m behind on blogging…The end of the year got a bit busy after I returned from vacation leaving little time for culinary prose in between 24 hour emergency room shifts.  But don’t worry! Despite a minor blog hiatus, I have made some time for baking and have a few delicious desserts to show off in the coming weeks.

This dessert was created after returning from my 5 day vacation in New Orleans.  My close friends and I, inspired by Top Chef, ventured to New Orleans solely to eat…and eat we did (with a little drinking and jazz along the way)! After 5 days of eating rich, heavy NOLA cuisine, my body needed a break.


Unfortunately/fortunately we had already planned a dinner when we got back and I was in charge of dessert.  In search of something lighter (or at least something that tasted lighter) my mind immediately turned to lemon.  There’s something about lemon that just lightens any dish or dessert it is added to.  I considered making Joanne Chang’s lemon bars but then had the brilliant idea for a deconstructed lemon cream pie using her lemon curd recipe.

This dessert layers delicious and tart lemon curd, with fluffy whipped mascarpone cream (I may have a slight obsession with mascarpone cream), and crumbled graham cracker crust.  For an added touch you can add candied lemon peel and/or fresh berries.  While the final product wasn’t exactly “light”, no one had any trouble finishing their parfait!

Deconstructed Lemon Cream Pie Parfait

(makes 8 parfaits with extra lemon curd…for snacking or other desserts)

Lemon Curd (from Joanne Chang’s Lemon Lust Bars)

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (500 grams) fresh lemon juice (14 to 16 lemons)
1/2 cup (1 stick/114 grams) unsalted butter
½ cup (60 grams) heavy cream
8 eggs
4 egg yolks
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the lemon juice, butter, and cream. Place over medium-high heat and heat to just below a boil. Meanwhile, in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks until blended. Slowly whisk in the granulated sugar until combined. Remove the lemon juice mixture fromheat and gradually whisk a little of it into the egg mixture. Continue whisking the hot liquid into the eggs, a little at a time, until all of it has been incorporated.

When all of the lemon juice mixture has been incorporated, return the contents of the bowl to the saucepan, and return the saucepan to medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan frequently to prevent the eggs from scrambling, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon thickly. To test, draw your finger along the back of the spoon; the curd should hold the trail for a second or two before it fills.

Remove the lemon curd from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl or pitcher. Whisk in the salt and vanilla.  Chill for 4 hours until cool.

Whipped Mascarpone Cream

8 oz whipping cream, chilled
8 oz mascarpone cream
2 Tbs powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Place the whipping cream in a stand mixer with a whip attachment and beat cream until just before soft peaks start to form.  Add in the mascarpone cream and beat together until stiff peaks form. Add in powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and beat until combined.  Chill for at least an hour.

Graham Cracker Crust

7 whole graham crackers, coarsely broken

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with foil.  Blend graham crackers, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in processor until moist clumps form. Press crumb mixture over prepared baking sheet.   Bake crust until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  Let cool.   Crumble again into crumbs to use for parfaits.

Candied Lemon Peel (optional)

click here for recipe from


Layer lemon curd, whipped mascarpone cream and graham cracker crumbs into 8 glasses.  You should be able to layer each ingredient twice.  You will have extra lemon curd and graham cracker crumbs.  Top with candied lemon peel and/or berries if desired.

Kale Salad with Pistachio Dressing

15 May

There’s a rumor that kale is on its way out.  Restaurants have been overwhelmed by kale this past year- kale chips, kale salad, pasta and soups laden with kale- it’s everywhere!    And it’s only a matter of time before everyone tires of this healthy leafy vegetable in favor of another fleeting food trend.

In the meantime, a new amazing restaurant in Cambridge, Alden & Harlow, has ironically created “the ubiquitous kale salad” to feature on its menu.  If you live in the Boston area and haven’t been to Alden & Harlow yet, run (don’t walk) there and immediately order this salad (and beef neck, and grilled clams, and onion dip, and the secret burger…and don’t forget the drinks!).  There is nothing “ubiquitous” about it.  The salient feature of the salad is a creamy pistachio dressing, which dresses crispy kale and is then topped with additional pistachios and thinly sliced fennel.  While it appears quite simple, it is unlike any salad I have ever had.  I’ve had cravings for it so often that I finally had to try to create my own version!  My version strayed a little from the Alden & Harlow salad by adding quickly seared brussel sprout leaves and cranberries (instead of fennel) but feel free to add your own accoutrements. 

 While this pales in comparison to the original “ubiquitous kale salad”, it definitely satsifies my craving when I can’t make the trek for the real thing at Alden & Harlow (or they don’t have any reservations!).

Pistachio Dressing:

1/2 cup raw shelled pistachios
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp honey
1 garlic clove (can add more if you want it to be more garlicky)
salt and pepper to taste


Place all of the above in a food processor and blend until thoroughly pureed.  Add extra water if too thick, or extra pisctachios if too thin.  Use to dress chopped kale (or greens of your choice but pick something hearty to stand up to the bold, creamy dressing) and top with additional pistachios and toppings of your choosing.


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Formaggio Kitchen's Cheese Blog

A blog about cheese, farms, food and friends.


A blog for those who love fashion, luxury, and fun without spending a ton.

A Spoonful Of Sugar

I eat, therefore I am

Salted Kitchen

Just another site

Putney Farm

Get some good food. Cook it. Share with friends. Have a cocktail.

i am a food blog

(helps the medicine go down)

Sundays with Jennie

Just another site


The world is my inspiration...

the CHEW-bacca

I eat because I care.


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